University Medical College of Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Travel and E-Travel
In 2010 I visited Kansas City, stopping at the Kansas City Public Library. The only Scalpel available was for 1908, after the football glory days and before football was resumed. A librarian brought up a computer map that showed the East Tenth Street college location, so I was able to visit that. The 1909 Scalpel used in this layout is from Mid-Continent Public Library.
University Medical College was founded as part of a planned Kansas City University with schools of Art and Law as well as Medicine. Only the medical school developed, founded by Jabaz N. Jackson, one time president of the American Medical Association. Eighteen Kansas City doctors each put up $800 to finance the creation of the college, and each paid a monthly fee of $5 to provide operating expenses. In 1888 the medical school was separated from other departments of KCU. At this time the school increased the length of a term to eight months and by raising standards, began “drawing a more select class of students.”
In 1890 the school began the first nurse’s training programs in the West.
The 1909 Scalpel shows a student body of around 190 men, taught by a faculty of 50. One of the students lamented the absence of social, cultural and athletic events that would make the university experience more memorable. However, chapters of two medical fraternities—Phi Beta Pi and Phi Delta—provided many students with a social outlet. Many were also members of the ᴁsculapian fraternity, and some belonged to the YMCA.
University Medical College closed in 1913.
Bricks and Mortar
The college operated in three different downtown locations. It opened at 12th and McGee. In 1888 it sold that property and moved to 10th and Campbell. Finally, it was located at 909, 911 and 913 East Tenth Street.
The buildings have since been razed, and the area is a city park today.
University Medical College on Tenth Street. (Scalpel, Courtesy of Mid-Continent Public Library)
Team name: Invariably referred to as “Medics”
Colors: Red and Gold
The 1908 Scalpel shows only a track team. However, the student mentioned above, notes that the only sport sponsored by the school’s Athletic Association was football.
University Medical College organized a football team in 1895. By 1896 they refer to themselves as “Champions of Middlewest.” That team scheduled and defeated current Division I teams such as Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Nebraska as well as Haskell Institute and William Jewell. In 1897 the team traveled to Texas to play Texas A&M and the University of Texas.
1907 University Medical College team This team had a 4-1-1 record, defeating Wentworth Military Academy, the University of Arkansas, Chillicothe, and Ottawa University. The team lost to St, Mary’s (KS) College and drew with Southwestern (KS) College. (Scalpel, Courtesy of Mid-Continent Public Library)
The Omaha World-Herald referred to the Medics as a “semi-professional” team, noting that not only had some of the men played “for years” with college teams, but that two had actually played for money. In addition, the World-Herald noted that faculty supervision of the football program was “entirely wanting.”
Success and charges of professionalism came to a halt in 1901 when the University Medical College trustees voted to drop football because of its cost at a time when the school was starting a building program.
However, the 1909 Scalpel shows that football had returned, despite the acknowledged problems of player eligibility. Obviously many candidates for admission to University Medical College were already college graduates, and some had played football as undergraduates at other institutions.